Happy New Year! Or, shall we say, welcome to Day 1 of the next 365 opportunities that we all have to go boating.

The options, of course, are many—including in cruising destinations that have been off-limits in recent times. Along the southeast U.S. coastline, where Hurricane Matthew pummeled marinas and boatyards from Georgia to Virginia in 2016, many facilities not only are recovering, but also are rebuilt. Fuel docks are open, chandleries have well-stocked shelves, and transient slips are brand-new.

Goodbye 2017, hello 2018! Take advantage of another whole year of boating...

Goodbye 2017, hello 2018! Time to take advantage of another year of boating...

Parts of Florida and the Virgin Islands that Hurricane Irma and other storms devastated this past autumn aren’t quite that far along yet on the repair scale, but for the most part, there are places to dock if you want to cruise south for the winter. Most of the marinas in the Florida Keys are operational again, and the Moorings and Sunsail have reopened their joint charter base on Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, after several months’ worth of repairs.

When summertime arrives, many eyes and waypoints will shift to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, where the July Fourth holiday offers tons of opportunity for boating fun. There’s the New Jersey coastline, with fireworks displays over the boardwalks from Belmar to Point Pleasant; Manhattan’s big event, of course, sponsored by Macy’s; and additional shows straight on up through Newport, Rhode Island, and Down East Maine (and if you’re cruising to Rhode Island for July Fourth, be sure to stick around for the Newport Jazz Festival in early August. You don’t even have to leave the boat. Just anchor in the harbor and let the sweet sounds of the pianos and saxophones soothe you all day and night).

Autumn is a great time to cruise south—with a detour up the Hudson River and back, on the border of New York and New Jersey, for some spectacular leaf peeping. The golf courses from Virginia Beach down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, beckon at this time of year, and there’s nothing at all wrong with a dock-and-putt itinerary where you cruise a little, golf a little and, of course, knock back a few cold ones at the 19th hole.

Before we all know it, winter will arrive once again, and we’ll all be cruising back toward Florida while thinking, There are only 25 days left before 2019!

Will you have made the most of 2018’s boating opportunities? Today’s the day to start making sure the answer to that question is a wholehearted yes.

To start your New Year, be sure to take a look at the best New Year's Resolutions for Boaters.